Article 370 should be permanent feature of constitution: NC manifesto

Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference Wednesday said article 370 should become a permanent feature of the Indian constitution and the party would fight to safeguard this provision giving special status to the state.

Releasing the NC manifesto here Wednesday, party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said: “Article 370 should be made a permanent provision of the Indian constitution.

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“Article 370 is a bridge between the state and the country. If this bridge goes, it will affect the relations between the state and the centre. This article is our ideology and identity and NC will never allow anybody to abrogate it. We will press for reversal of the erosion of this article over the years,” he said.

Asked if there is a possibility of NC supporting Bharatiya Janata Party, which opposes article 370, in forming next government in Jammu and Kashmir, Sagar who was accompanied by party’s senior leaders Mian Altaf, Muhammad Akbar Lone and Nasir Aslam Wani, ruled it out.

“Our agenda is altogether different than BJP. NC and BJP are like two parallel sides of river that would never meet,” he said, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to adopt the path of his predecessor Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who said Kashmir issue is an established fact and needs a resolution.

“Modi should follow the path of insaniyat (humanity) in dealing with Kashmir issue. We (NC) believe autonomy is a window through which this issue can be solved within the parameters of the Indian constitution and Delhi will have to accept it one day.”

Sagar said his party stands for better India-Pakistan relations as they directly affect the situation in Kashmir.

Among many issues the party election manifesto talks about, rehabilitation of September flood victims, an onetime settlement package for the refugees of 1947, 1965 and 1971 living in Jammu, and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act are significant ones.

Sagar, however, parried questions over why Chief Minister Omar Abdullah couldn’t repeal the controversial AFSPA despite being in power for six years.

“Omar Abdullah has taken the issue of AFSPA at all levels. It is due to his efforts that even Vice President Hamid Ansari talks about its revocation. It is a victory of Omar Sahib.

“Level of violence in the state has gone down so AFSPA has to go. For its revocation we can’t wait for last gun to fall silent,” he said.